|Single by Eagles|
|from the album Eagles|
|Released||August 1, 1972|
|Recorded||Olympic Sound Studios, London|
|Writer(s)||Don Henley, Bernie Leadon|
|Eagles singles chronology|
"Witchy Woman" is a song written by Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, and recorded by the American rock band Eagles. Released as the second single from the band's debut album Eagles, it reached #9 on the Billboard Pop singles chart and is the only single from the album to feature Henley on lead vocals.
Background and writing
"Witchy Woman" was started by guitarist Bernie Leadon who wrote it while he was a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Upon joining the Eagles, Bernie and Don Henley completed writing the song in the signature Eagles style and it was one of the first songs Henley wrote for the Eagles. While the inspiration for the title and lyrics was based on various women they had met and remembered as seductive enchantresses, Henley had Zelda Fitzgerald particularly in mind after reading her biography. The muse and sometimes genius behind her well-published author husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda was known as wild, bewitching and mesmerizing and was the quintessential "Flapper", as her husband dubbed her, of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties. In his novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald embodies Zelda's uninhibited and reckless personality in the character of Daisy Buchanan. Theories and speculation on Zelda's behavior were widespread, with lyrics in "Witchy Woman" referring to Zelda's partying excesses being detrimental to her psyche: "She drove herself to madness with the silver spoon", is a reference to Zelda's time in a mental institution and the special slotted silver spoon used to dissolve sugar cubes with absinthe, the popular 1920s alcoholic beverage distilled from the wormwood tree and called "the green fairy" for sometimes inducing hallucinations. The song was conceived while Don Henley was living in an old house near the Hollywood Bowl, with his flat mate, Henry Vine (aka 'Blitz').
- Don Henley: Lead Vocals, Drums
- Glenn Frey: Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar
- Bernie Leadon: Backing Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
- Randy Meisner: Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
The song, along with "Desperado", was both used and referred to in an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. In an episode of Dharma and Greg from the first season, Abbey, Dharma's mother, mentions that she dated Henley and is almost certain she is Witchy Woman. The song was used in a 2005 episode of the series Cold Case titled "In the Woods" (the episode was set during 1972, the year of the song's original release). It is also used in the movie America's Sweethearts to depict Catherine Zeta-Jones' character as she is getting out of a limousine.
- "Eagles charted singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- "Liner Notes - The Very Best of The Eagles". Eaglesonlinecentral.com. 2001-09-10. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- Elaine Showalter. "Review: Zelda Fitzgerald and The Love Letters of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-05-24.